Gravtye Manor is the former home of the gardener William Robinson, author of The English Flower Garden and The Wild Garden. Robinson introduced the idea of naturalised planting – the concept of allowing nature to flow in the garden, challenging the usual practice of planting formal gardens with set borders.Robinson, who bought the manor in 1884, put his wild gardening theories into practice in the garden and many of his naturalised bulbs can still be seen today. The more formally arranged flower garden surrounds the manor, with the wild garden spreading out from the edges, including the orchard and meadow. Since 2010 the aim has been to both conserve and re-create Robinson’s work as well as progressing the garden, in homage to his style.At this time of year the contrast of the burnt orange helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’ sitting alongside the white romneya coulteri ‘Californian Tree Poppy’ is really charming. The Kitchen Garden is a wonderful sight, with all sorts of exciting fruit, vegetables and herbs being grown, which are all used in the kitchen and served in the restaurant.The garden has such character and whether you are sitting in the formal garden having afternoon tea, or taking a stroll further afield after lunch, it is a really special experience.Green dress: Vintage Gina Fratini; Shoes: Office.Pink dress: Topshop; Shoes: Elia B.Photography: Sarah BrayPhotographed at Gravetye Manor.
I visited Sophie’s Shop, tucked away in Blenheim Studios in Forest Row, East Sussex which has a fantastic collection of vintage and nearly new designer clothes and accessories. The shop is the perfect combination of easy-to-wear basics, beautiful designer pieces and exquisite vintage finds, all carefully chosen and displayed alongside each other.Sophie kindly let me try on many items including a wonderful red Diane Von Furstenberg dress, Iro jeans, super J Crew patterned shorts and a pretty vintage white lace dress, which was just in; it was great fun discovering unique vintage pieces amongst well-known designer labels. I came away with some real finds and I can’t wait to wear a charming shirt dress which Sophie recommended I try – a piece I would never normally have picked out for myself. I am also more than tempted to go back for some sweet Chloe pumps in cream, but am certain they will have been snapped up by now. My sister came away with some beautiful metallic Alexander McQueen heels, sadly we don't have the same size feet!Do go have a look, as there is something for every occasion and new items come in all the time. Thank you Sophie for allowing us to invade for the afternoon! Clothes all from Sophie's Shop:Top image - Jeans: Iro; Top: Etre; Shoes: Chloe; Sunglasses: Rayban.Bottom image - Dress: Peter Pilotto; Shoes: Carvela.Photography: Sarah BrayPhotographed at Sophie's Shop
Borde Hill Garden in West Sussex was created in the 1900s and surrounds a striking Tudor Mansion built in 1598. The garden is perfect for an afternoon stroll with each area of the garden designed in a unique style.
The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden close to the house is particularly attractive at this time of year, boasting over 100 varieties of David Austin roses which sit prettily alongside the blue nepeta.
The Italian Garden
The peaceful Italian Garden is perfect for quiet reflection. The formal lay-out, with a pool at the centre surrounded by pots of agapanthus and geraniums is offset by a view out over the surrounding countryside.
The Round Dell
The Round Dell really is sub-tropical, with bananas and towering palm trees, perfect to lose yourself in for a few moments although rather a relief once you emerge and realise you are not lost in the rainforest but rather a garden in the Sussex countryside.Dress: Mela Love London; Hat: Vintage Herald and Heart; Shoes: JuJu.Photography: Sarah BrayPhotographed at Borde Hill Garden
'With that she became bitterly angry and threw him against the wall with all her might. "Now you will have your peace, you disgusting frog!"But when he fell down, he was not a frog, but a prince with beautiful friendly eyes. And he was now, according to her father's will, her dear companion and husband. He told her how he had been enchanted by a wicked witch, and that she alone could have rescued him from the well, and that tomorrow they would go together to his kingdom.' - Jacob and Wilhelm GrimmThe Gunnera plant is incredibly distincitive due to it's enormous dark green leaves. Densely clustered together and bearing down from their great height, the leaves can be rather foreboding. The perfect setting for a fairy-tale scene, whose original story from the brothers Grimm is not quite as enchanting as we are always led to believe.Dress: Vintage AnnabelindaPhotography: Sarah BrayPhotographed at High Beeches Garden